Buddipole Design and Tuning

The Buddipole or (Buddistick) in a vertical orientation is simply a quarter-wave ground plane antenna. It is typically mounted on a tripod and mast about eight to twelve -feet off the ground. The elevated counterpoise runs at an angle to a counterpoise stick (driveway markers from the hardware store). The reason for the elevation of the counterpoise is to get the feed point impedance closer to 50 ohms and reduce the ground losses by a counterpoise laid on the ground. The trick then is to lengthen or shorten the counterpoise to get to resonance.

Don’t complicate it with 32 radials as I typically use one or two with great results.

Tarrifs NOW Affecting Cheap Hams – Get em NOW!

Today the US government starts charging a 25% import duty for radios from China. Almost all the DMR radios are made in China. We will honor the pre tariff price as long as we have stock of radios we bought before we have to pay extra for the radios. That applies to the CS580, CS800D, CS750, CS800, and CS801. The AnyTone price is set by AnyTone and they have not indicated how the tariff is going to affect the price. I would expert the AnyTone MAP to go beyond the $169 so now would be a good time to get one from us before we are forced to raise our price.

Jerry Wanger KK6LFS

Connect Systems Inc.

Hamfest for Beginners

I received a funny anon email with this link  Bang ON!

Hamfests for Beginners
Every new ham is soon introduced to a unique phenomenon called the “Hamfest”. This is short for “Amateur Radio Festival” and should be called an Amfest but you will soon see that we do all kinds of silly things starting with calling our hobby “ham radio” and ourselves “hams”.

To digress for a moment: Many people have asserted that the advent of the use of the term “ham radio” is unknown; cloaked in mists of time; or that it refers to the sending technique of old-time CW operators. I think I know why it was adopted. I think it was adopted to keep really cool people from crowding the airwaves and annoying radio operators who like to have nice conversations. You know. Sort of like contesters. By adopting just about the most unflattering name imaginable we have limited ourselves to about 800,000 hams, most of whom are inactive except on contest weekends when they are all active and tuning up on my net frequency. I mean, when was the last time you heard a 20 year old stud-muffin football player ask a cheerleader, “Do you want to come over to my house and hear some RTTY?” But that is for another time. We know we are cool. Who needs a drop dead gorgeous cheerleader? (AKA YL at 36 over 59) Well, for one, I d….ahem…


The idea behind the hamfest comes from ‘back in the day’ when people not only operated amateur radio stations; they also built the radios they used. They got together to sell and trade parts. And even with store bought radios, there was a time when a young “novice” radio operator could not really use the same radio that a general class or higher amateur could use. So there was a great market for used equipment and the need for a place to sell it. Remember this was before the internet. Or airmail not to put too fine a point on it. Hence Hamfests. And they continue to this day. You will soon learn that the average experienced ham radio operator changes radios every 37 days unless he has Collins gear in which case he only sells it to fund his retirement to Hawaii or a new airplane. (You will see Collins gear at hamfests but it is not really for sale. The guy is just showing off. He knows that nobody in his/her right mind would carry that kind of cash to a parking lot in the dead of night.)

And while we are on the subject let me clarify what I mean by ‘dead of night’. All hamfests start at 2 AM or some other ridiculous hour of the morning. Why? Because geezers can’t sleep? I don’t know. All I know is that if you are not the first person there you will not get the bargains. A word of caution. Before you look for bargains you will want to use the porta-potty. There will only be one because the club sponsoring the hamfest is too chea…that is to say, has not been assiduous in preparing for mostly older men stuffed with coffee, doughnuts and diuretics.

As you become more experienced you will come to understand that smart ‘festers’, as we sometimes call ourselves, have to buy a lot of stuff that we do not need for what may at first seem a doubtful purpose. We need stock to sell at the next hamfest. Once you understand why we need this it is not so doubtful at all. In getting this stuff we are preparing to be vendors at the next hamfest and thereby allowed to come in early! It does not matter if we sell any of it because getting in early is the whole point. This way we have time to buy all of the bargains before mere attendees are allowed inside the wire. I am not making this up. A few years ago I arrived at a hamfest, before sunup, to setup my stuff and a guy opened the hatch of my car and climbed in the back. Headlight and all! I figured it was too early in the morning for a carjacking and most carjackers do not wear headlamps and name tags but I was still startled until he asked me how much the gold D-104 was. I told him it was not gold it was rust….that is to say had the warm patina of vintage equipment and that the price tag was still on it from the last hamfest. I also mentioned to him that he needed new batteries for his headlamp which, as luck would have it, one of the commercial vendors was sure to have; right next to the flashing LED lights, tow bars, cords, cables and sirens for the ECOM folks.)

As you arrive at your first hamfest you will be purchasing your ticket for admission. This money will be used by the sponsoring radio club to support its repeater fund. (A repeater is a radio you put on top of a mountain and then bitch about maintaining because it is on top of a freaking mountain. And who wants to go up there and work on it and nobody uses it anyway except for the Tuesday night 2 meter net and most importantly it is not broken and whose bright idea was it to replace it anyway? Just because there is $76,112.00 in the repeater fund is no good reason to climb a mountain. I mean really? Sorry. I got off on a tangent. You will also buy $20.00 worth of $1.00 raffle tickets. The grand prize will be a two meter radio. The second prize will be a two meter HT. There are a variety of additional prizes which will range from a satellite book that the same poor guy tries to sell at every hamfest to a PL-259 with practically no wear at all. The important thing is that calling the ticket numbers for all of these prizes keeps the president of the club busy annoying you and me all morning. “And now everyone, check your tickets. We have a really nice, practically new, 6L6GC tube for the next lucky winner”.

That dealt with you are in. You will want to walk fast. You are looking for gems. It may seem at first that everyone there is selling used record albums, computer speakers and defunct computer games. They are. If this article serves one purpose alone it is to tell the amateur radio community once and for all that nobody wants to buy your used computer speakers or your wife’s old hair dryer. And oh by the way, labeling it a forced-air thermal circuit board dryer is fooling no one. It is a used hair dryer. Frankly, most tables look like a robot exploded in a Radio Shack store. But be not discouraged.

One thing you will quickly notice might even be a money-making opportunity for you. At the next hamfest you could make a fortune selling dust cloths and pledge-by-the-dose. A guy who once tried to shave his cat lest a cat hair gets caught in his antique straight key has somehow contrived to bring a Variac so covered in dust it looks like the hatch on a tank. (A Variac is a device used to bring old equipment “up to power” and though you will eventually buy one you will never use it. Never fear though, it is a great thing to sell at a hamfest.) So there is Mr. Variac owner, carting this stuff halfway across the state after having spent all night on EBay fanaticizing about how much it is worth but who did not have a moment to spare for hitting it with a can of air? I mean really Scarface, if you had not shaved that cat she would have dusted it for you.

So Mr. New Ham, you are there looking for three things; your fist HF rig, a power supply and an antenna. Oh yea. And the coolest looking microphone you can find. Four things. Looking to your right you see it. A great looking TS-930s. Now there is a nice first rig. Behind the table is a guy with a hat and a tag telling you his call sign and that his name is Bob. So up you go and ask how much the rig costs. Out comes a piece of paper with eBay on it showing the highest price ever paid for a TS-930S, probably by a snowbound drunk on a lonely Saturday night. Bob says, “Well, they are going on eBay for $1100.00 but I can let you have it for $700”. Of course Bob is temporarily deranged so you resolve to come back near the end of the hamfest when Bob is more concerned about taking “that giant electric thing” as his wife calls it back her laundry room than he is in beating the average on the eBay street. You buy a used coax jumper for $2.00 and move on.

Wait! Was that your number? It was. You won! A collectable 1946 call book remarkable because it has all of the current officers of the ARRL in it. Way to go. Beginners luck. You take it and your piece of coax to the car.

A great thing to buy at hamfests is an antenna and there are a bunch of them here. Buying an antenna is an act of faith. There is never an instruction book and every single one of them “worked when I took it down”. I guess you just have to go with the old adage, “any piece of aluminum is better than a hank of wire”. With the benefit of a drill and the local hardware store you can always make it look like a beam. (Beware of the guy who calls it a Yagi Uda antenna because he is a pompous a…that is to say showing off and the fact that he tells you it is missing a minor part called the “driven element – which you can get anywhere” should raise a red flag.) So always buy vertical antennas at hamfests. Two reasons. They are a real “value” and most importantly, they fit in the car.

Don’t forget the coax! I can think of no reason why you should not buy used coax at a hamfest. After all, that guy told you, “it worked fine when I replaced it”. You know that 800 watt amplifier you just bought? Not because it was on your list but who doesn’t want to go QRO? Remember how the guy selling it was honest enough to tell you that though, as a newbie, you could always “try” 100 watts for a while particularly if you mount that dipole at 200 feet, if you want to take advantage of all of the db’s of gain the amp is going to give, you need a great antenna and that means….coax. I’m sure that the old coax can easily handle 800 watts. What could possibly go wrong? Another trip to the car with your amp and 240’ of RG8 in “convenient 26 foot lengths”.

There is a FT-450 over there! That ought to drive my new-used amplifier, right? And there is a nice XYL sitting there smiling at you. Up you go and ask what it costs. She sweetly smiles and says that she does not know but that her husband has just gone to the porta-potty and he should be back in about an hour if the last two times he went are any indication. Sigh.

They just announced that the VE session is about to begin. Nobody moved.

They announced that some guy was checking QSL cards. Nobody moved.

They announce that the Ecom presentation is about to begin. Thirty six armed people in camouflage move.

You walk by the ARRL booth and sign up because they are giving out band charts and you will get a nametag with your call sign on it in the mail.

Moving on. Back by Bob’s table and the 930 is still there. It is almost closing time and you are encouraged to see that he has used his eBay printout as a coaster so you hit him with the line you have heard others use all day. “Bob. I wouldn’t blame you if you said no, but I bought this amplifier, this coax and these four microphones, and I only have $380.00 left. Can you let it go for that? He says yes, he can let you have it and offers to carry it to your car for you. He throws in a coax switch, something called a “low pass filter” which you will find out doesn’t really do anything but looks really cool and the 6L6GC tube Bob just won.

And there you have it. You have finished your first hamfest! You have a new radio, an amplifier, 4 microphones, some coax, a switch, a vertical antenna, a low pass filter, a highly collectable book, a band chart, the promise of an official name tag and a 6L6GC to start your tube collection. You are on the air! You will be home by 8 AM! On the way out you snag a Variac. The guy cut the price in half and threw in a nice pair of computer speakers.

Copyright Rick McCallum


What Kind of Ham do you want to be? A Good Ham or a Bad Ham or an Elmer

We have all started off as a new Ham and over time we become a Good Ham or a Bad Ham. Some progress to being Elmers. Choose which Ham you want to be. I would lump the jammer or kerchunker Ham into Type 1


Type 1 – The Angry Disgruntled Ham (Bad Ham)

This type is easy to find they’re bitter, angry, jealous, opinionated, know-it-alls, narcissists, and loners and do nothing to help their fellow amateurs. They complain a lot, get angry, yell and swear at their fellow Hams, bully, harass, and don’t care about amateur radio, they only care about themselves.

Many Type 1 Hams will bash the Type 2 , Type 3 and Type 4 Hams

“Whats with these guys and their Baefengs, don’t they know Motorola is the best”

“Icom is ripping everyone off because my Yaesu is cheaper and better and I only buy Yaesu”

“Hey why don’t you shut the XXXX up and go on another repeater”

“Yeah all these guys going out and getting an icom 7300 and then the Icom 5100. I do just finw with my Kenwood 430 and Alinco 2m meter mobile”

“No one wants you on this repeater”

“I am getting tired of all the nets on this repeater”

“OMG the price of gas, boy are we getting ripped off”

“Kerchunk, kerchunk, kerchunk”


Type 2 – The “I Need Help” Ham (New Ham)

This is a new Ham that wants or needs help. They need help setting up a station, choosing equipment, and sometimes just getting started. They ask a lot of questions and need assistance so they can become Type 3 Hams. These Hams seem to always find the Type 1 Ham and at times leave the hobby in disgust.

Ham radio can be complicated so we just need to teach these new hams to fish.

A bad Ham will always put down the new Ham with a remark such as “Oh you must be a basics because that question was on the advanced exam” or “Did you read the manual because it says in there to save the memory, just press the MW button” or “Ham is different from CB radio because real Hams make their own dipoles not go to the store and buy them ready made” or “If you don’t know what S9 over 30dB means then you must be stupid”.

Type 3 – The Good Ham

This Ham is always helpful, respectful and does not put others down. They avoid any conflicts on the air and when they hear the Type 1 Ham on the air they shut their radio off and go do something else. They enjoy the social aspect of their local Ham club. A good Ham follows the code of conduct.

Type 4 – The Elmer Ham

This is a rare tyoe of Ham as they are always helping out anyway they can. They get involved in ARES, become an examiner, teach radio classes, start a club or get actively  involved in the club, help get staions set up, operate Field day, perform in community or public service events or help the Type 2 Ham. Type 4 Hams really care about the hobby and its fture and do something about it.

I try my best to be a Type 4 Ham.

Remember we have a Code of Conduct  and we should follow it just to make Maxim and Marconi proud.

The Radio Amateur (Good Ham)  is:

CONSIDERATE never knowingly operating in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

LOYAL offering loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

PROGRESSIVE with knowledge abreast of science, a well built and efficient station, and operation beyond reproach.

FRIENDLY with slow and patient operation when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, co-operation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

BALANCED Radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

PATRIOTIC with station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

COMMUNITY based with always giving back to their community

We also have a DX Code of Conduct:


So the next time you spend 3 hours kerchinking the repeater to show how angry you are, or start making fun of a new Ham that does not understand what QTH means, think of what you can do to grow this hobby and to help others. If you dont care to be an Elmer then just be a Good Ham.


How to gain dB and improve your signals when Hill Topping or at SOTA Summits

I have been experimenting across different antennas and set ups when operating at a SOTA summit or a hilltop or just up at Signal Hill playing radio.

Here is a quick summary to gain understanding on improvements possible:

5 watt Icom VHF Handheld

1/2 Wave Telescopic whip – AEA, Icom or Homebrew

Yagi – Arrow 3 Element

2m FM Amplifier – Mirage

5 Watt Handheld with standard Flexible antenna               0 dB
5 Watt Handheld with 1/2-wave whip antenna                  +8 dB
3-element Yagi antenna                                      +9 dB
20 Watt transceiver (vs 5W output)                          +6 dB

Total improvement (20W with yagi vs Handheld)              +15 dB

Remember a doubling of power is 3 db and an S Unit is 6 dB

Thus I have proven with a distant station that the 5 Watt handheld with the standard rubber duck vs the beam is 15 dB or 2 1/2 S Units

This is a big difference between audible and not audible. In fact several test proved that just the 1/2 wave whip provided some benefits to raise the signal above the noise floor. I am not sure how accurate the gain is but thats the best I could find for a value. My calculations seem to indicate it may be more like 6 dB. The far station did confirm an extra S unit in gain when I swapped out the antennas.

The far station was “mobile” using an Icom 5100



KC4TVZ Todd on 10 Meters

Todd I hear you all the time on 28.425 and tried to make QSO with you on your CQ call outs

I also have the 756 Pro radio and with Dual watch I can hear you and another channel at the same time

The Icom “Dual Watch” architecture, pioneered on the IC-781, is a very practical compromise which offers limited dual-receive capability. It eliminates the complexity and costs associated with a second IF chain and demodulator. Referring to Figure 1, a power splitter following the preselector and RF preamplifier feeds two separate 1st mixers, A and B. Each mixer receives local oscillator (LO) injection from a dedicated synthesiser (1st LO A and B).  PIN-diode attenuators at the mixer outputs allow adjustment of the relative A and B signal levels via the BAL control. A power combiner following the 1st mixers sums their IF outputs. The combined IF signal is fed to the 64.455 MHz roofing filter, and thence down the IF chain. Setting 1st LO A and B to separate frequencies allows simultaneous reception of two signals on different frequencies (A and B channels).

The RF preselector filters and preamplifier, IF chain, DSP demodulator and audio chain are common to both the A and B channels. The operator hears both signals mixed at the common receiver audio output.

The upshot of all this for the operator is that the Icom topology limits dual reception to two signals in the same mode, IF bandwidth and band (the B channel can be in an adjacent band, e.g. A on 20m and B on 17m, without too much loss of sensitivity). In addition, the common demodulator and audio chain preclude “stereo” reception or separate audio in L & R headphones. To provide “stereo” capability, the radio would need two independent IF chains, each with its own DSP board. This would have a major impact on the price of the radio.


6m 50Mhz Band Frequencies

With the resurgence of  interest in the Magic Band, please print and refer to when listening.

Listening is not the right approach, call out on the assigned channels looking for activity or monitor beacons to check for activity.

DX Maps is also a useful tool


50.06-50.09 Beacons
50.0-50.1 CW
50.090 CW Calling Frequency
50.06 QRP CW Calling Frequency
50.7 RTTY Calling Frequency
50.100 to 50.130 DX Window (USB)
50.110 DX Calling Frequency (USB)
50.115 DXpeditions
50.125 USA National SSB Simplex Frequency (USB)
50.1-50.6 Weak Signal, AM
50.260 is the WSJT Meteor Scatter
50.270 FSK Meteor Scatter
50.300 FM Simplex Calling Frequency (West Coast)
50.385 USB PSK31
50.4 National AM Simplex Frequency
50.885 QRP SSB Calling Freq
51.910 FM Internet Linking
52.525 National FM Simplex Calling Frequency


6m Dipole too simple to make “even for appliance operators”


Image result for 6m dipole


Image result for 6m vertical


or buy one from Arrow https://www.radioworld.ca/arr-gp52